We are all aware of one fact: what you focus on expands. When you get overwhelmed with negative thoughts, you are pretty much useless to do anything efficiently. Well, maybe engage in a fight, but that could end up both ways. Here is how to detach from negativity
Negative thoughts are triggering your defense mechanism since brain recognizes the current state as the state of danger. Brain is not that smart as people think because it cannot distinct shades. The situation is either good and positive, in which case you get rewarded with SDO (serotonin-dopamine-oxytocin) combo of chemicals, or it can be bad and stressful, where your primary mechanisms are being shut down and put on pause.
When in the defense state of mind, the only thing that is secreted is the cortisol, which triggers the adrenaline in the next stage. No dopamine, serotonin, or oxy. Only the primitive, ancient form of human being.
It may not appear to you like that, but try executing some complex tasks. It won’t work. And that limits you in your daily life.
That uselessness, caused by the streak of negative thoughts, happens because your working memory shut down. Neocortical regions in your brain retreats to make way for the limbic parts that contain survival mechanisms. Your heart rate accelerates, blood pressure increases, pupils are widening, hearing gets improved and you’re ready to meet the danger.
Your brain is doing only one thing: focusing on the next sign of aggression or imminent danger.
That’s why you’ll be having trouble to snap out of it and accept positive comment or response from someone (anyone) who pissed you off just a moment ago. Instead — and which is a common behavior — you’ll try to sense the fault play in words or gestures coming from that person. Every word and body language will be weighed and you’ll desperately try to find some hidden cue that attack is not yet over.
You’re focusing on negative and it expands. It’s that simple.
There’s a childlike, simple method to snap out of it and return to normal!
The Alphabet Game.
When you find yourself wandering among the black thoughts, start with the letter ‘A’ and assign the word or a term that associates you with something positive. Exhaust all ‘A’ words and only then move to ‘B’ and so on.
The puzzle type of games, where you have to figure out something, is triggering the System 2 of your thinking process, which automatically shuts down the defense mechanism since your brain is signaled that logics must kick in since no imminent danger exists and the way out can only be found through complex thinking.
You see, after all, it’s you who control your brain (where in fact brain controls the brain since “conscious you” is your brain and vice versa) because nature awarded you with the advanced neocortical regions and you can switch between modes in any given time.
For example, many rape victims claim that they simply shut down the defense mechanism and went to some “happy place.” It literally means that they somehow managed to override one of the strongest instincts human being possesses – the defense mechanism.
It appears that out superior survival mechanism operates in a dual manner, allowing neocortex to step in from time to time.
It’s achieved by diversion, where you distract your brain, and arguably the best way to do it is to deploy some complex thinking process, such as planning, math or puzzle games.
Some are even suggesting that meditation can help, which we find ridiculous
But then again, it’s a free world and what doesn’t work for someone, may in fact work for the other.
The trick in meditation is to find a quiet spot and focus on the moment. Easier said than done, but there’s a method to override sudden surge of thoughts.
You focus on your breathing! Concentrate on the breath. Every time a thought tries to make its way to your operative memory, you block it by thinking about your breathing.
Now one thing has to be mentioned here: 2 minutes are quite enough! You don’t have to spend an hour like some Buddhist Monk.
That’s it boys. Give it a shot. I can guarantee that it works only I employ a bit altered Alphabet Game – I plan and analyze the plans and ideas. It calms me down. Try that also. You’ll be surprised how many brilliant ideas will come to your mind if you focus on them!